Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

CUTHBERT -- Cousins.

That's what they call each other, and it's true.

But what D'Ambria Thomas and Octavia Kierce mean to Pelham's girls basketball program may be indefinable.

Just look at Pelham's 59-40 win against Terrell County Wednesday night. The cousins poured in 46 of Pelham's first 48 points. Pippen and Jordan didn't do stuff like that.

"We feed off each other,'' said Kierce, a junior who is smooth as imported silk around the basket with passes just as slick.

It was a feast Wednesday.

Talk about a 1-2 punch. Ali had a better one, but the Pelham girls have the same idea. They want to knock someone out, and the way they're playing, the Lady Hornets might just KO the entire Region 1-A tournament. Wednesday's win in the quarterfinals means Pelham is guaranteed a berth in the state playoffs. The killer cousins made sure of that.

Pelham now meets Calhoun County at 4 p.m. on Friday in the semifinals at Terrell County, and two more wins would give the Lady Hornets their first region title since 1997.

"I was 2 then,'' said Herald Super 6er Thomas, giving a possible title even more significance. Thomas simply does it all for Pelham, a complete player who runs the floor, rebounds and scores at will, all while handing out assists like she owes everyone a favor.

"Not everyone has a Super 6er who can score on anybody,'' Pelham first-year coach Antonia Tookes said. "Having her is a blessing."

Thomas was thinking how big Wednesday's win-or-go-home game was all afternoon at school.

"We got knocked out in the first round of the region last year, and I didn't want to go home. This is my senior year and I didn't want this to be my last game,'' she said.

She played that way all night, scoring 25 points, grabbing eight rebounds, handing out three assists and making eight steals. Terrell County was giving Pelham, the No. 1 seed from the south sub-region, fits in the first half, playing tough and making big shots, and if not for Thomas' 15 first-half points, the Lady Greenwave might have led at halftime. But Thomas made big plays early, and Pelham led, 23-18, at the break.

"I told the others at halftime they would have to step up in the second half," Tookes said. "And (Kierce) stepped up.''

Tookes didn't realize after the game the pair of cousins had combined for the 46 of the first 48 points.

"Wow,'' is all she said when she heard the numbers.

Kierce, who had eight points at halftime, finished with 23 points, seven rebounds and a steal. If you like the combo on the menu, it reads 48 points, 15 rebounds and nine steals between them.

"We didn't want to lose. We're the No. 1 seed and we don't have the right to lose to anyone,'' Kierce said. "We knew it was either go hard or go home. We played hard.''

They had to because Terrell County, which is arguably the most improved team in this part of the state during the season, made it tough and got big games from Dee Mitchell (11 points) and LaChanta Hills, who scored seven of her nine points in the first half to keep it close.

"They are really tough,'' Tookes said of Terrell County, which was the No. 4 seed from the north. "They play a physical, tough man-to-man defense. That will help us the further we go.''

How far can the Lady Hornets go?

No one is running ahead of themselves at Pelham, but the Lady Hornets have already reached a couple of their preseason goals.

"We wanted to win the sub-region, and we wanted to get 20 wins,'' Tookes said. "We got win No. 20 (Wednesday). Our third goal is to win the region title.''

That would give Pelham a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs and guarantee the first two games would be at home in Pelham.

"That's what we want,'' Kierce said. "We want those home games.''

It has been a great ride so far for the Pelham girls -- a fun ride.

"How much fun? Look at our record, 20-6,'' Kierce said. "That's how much fun it's been.''